40% of employment claims are related to bullying
Press release - March 2010
40% of all employment claims in 2009 were related to bullying and the number could become higher still as more claims feed through due to the stress caused by two years of severe recession, says Caven, the UK’s leading service for recommending local, quality-assured solicitors to consumers.
Caven, part of Thomson Reuters, says that out of the 14,130 enquiries it received from employees relating to employment in 2009, 5,652 were in part related to bullying.
Caven says that although employers have been aware about the problem for some time now, the difficulty of firstly defining bullying and then acting upon it effectively means that it continues to be a prevalent issue in the workplace. But with the deteriorating climate at work due to recession, Caven says that the incidence of bullying claims is likely to increase further.
Comments Dan Watkins, Director of Caven: “It is rare for bullying to actually manifest itself in a physical act of aggression such as throwing around mobile phones and documents. Most of the time bullying will be verbal, indirect or symbolic, such as undermining a colleague in front of peers.”
“There is also a very fine line between what is defined as bullying or simply as a tough management style.”
“An employee might think they are being bullied whilst an employer might think they are merely managing that employee properly.”
“The reality is that this will vary according to everyone’s own perception at a given time. The subjective and emotive nature of the topic explains why there is such a difference in opinion as to whether the bullying exists or not.”
He adds: “Employers find it hard to prevent the problem arising because bullying is usually done in a subtle and repetitive way that may easily go unnoticed by the victim’s co-workers. Bullying actions taken individually can be difficult to spot.”
Caven says that as employees’ performance comes under tighter scrutiny and their workload and stress level increase as a result of economic pressures, there is a risk that the proportion of employees seeking grievances for bullying could grow even further.
Comments Dan Watkins: “Managers in all sectors have had the same instruction: deliver more with less. To implement that in an environment with low morale and overworked staff you will need acute interpersonal skills and social abilities to steer clear of trouble.”
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- Last Updated on 23/11/2011